Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to publish a paper in a theology journal

Hopefully this post will generate some discussion. There are certainly people more qualified than me to answer this, but to some faculty and research students at theological colleges, this is a mystery.
Any wisdom or foolishness I have is based on the following experience:
  • having published more than one hundred papers in scientific journals
  • having recently had a paper accepted in Scottish Journal of Theology (which at least according to the Australian Research Council has an A* rating)
  • observing some energetic (and successful) young staff at theological colleges
It is not rocket science. Basically, just do it!

Here are a few hopefully helpful and concrete steps.
  1. Write a draft of your paper.
  2. Choose a journal. A good indication of a suitable journal is where are many of your references are from. Only publish in international peer reviewed journals. They should be available electronically and major theological colleges and secular universities should have subscriptions. Otherwise your readership may be very limited.
  3. Put the article in the format of the journal.
  4. Ask a colleague who has published in the journal (or a similar one) to read and give feedback on the paper. Make appropriate changes.
  5. Submit the paper.
  6. The most likely responses are: a. outright rejection or b. resubmit with some changes
  7. If a. make appropriate changes and submit the article to a less prestigious journal.
  8. Keep repeating the steps 2. to 6. until the paper is accepted in some journal.
  9. If b. bend over backwards making any suggested/required changes from the editor and/or referees.
  10. Never give up.
Any comments?

1 comment:

  1. An ability to read technical German is essential for those who want to publish in an A* journal. When I started my PhD my supervisor had me do 1 hour German language learning every morning. I don't feel as though people need to be able to read it without a dictionary. But they need to know enough to identify paragraphs that are worth translating (even with an online translator).